Trump's barely been in office a year and a half, but already his presidency has been analyzed to death, with every new diagnosis contradicting the last. Trump's a "4D chess master!" No, he's a charlatan ill-suited for public office. Please, he's an outsider with a grand vision, hobbled by a deep-state legion of leakers and traitors. C'mon, he's clinically insane, with incipient dementia. Wrong again, he's a crouching tiger, his seeming missteps merely a diversion to lull his prey into a false sense of security. Be serious, he's Åke Axelsson's chimp, mindlessly flinging paint at the wall as others foolishly debate the merits of his art.
Every theory, from every angle, has been stated and restated. Surely at this point there can be no fresh analysis of this man and his presidency. At least that's what I thought, until a few weeks ago, when I spent the afternoon with Ann Coulter, having lunch at one of Beverly Hills' most revered Jewish delis.
Ann Coulter and David Cole walk into a Jewish deli. I'll let you write your own punchline.
After surviving a surprisingly pleasant encounter with the paparazzi, as we walked along Rodeo Drive past the fancy boutiques catering to gullible Asian tourists, Ann shared a theory about why Trump has elicited so much irrational hatred from one particularly influential U.S. demographic group. And what she said hit me right in the gut. She's never publicly written about this theory, but with her permission I'll present it here. Suffice it to say, it falls into the category of "Wish I'd said that."
A brief preamble. Ever since Trump announced his candidacy, I've been baffled by the outpouring of blind, irrational hatred directed at Trump by my fellow Jews. It's a hatred that goes beyond partisan politics. Sure, Jews always hate the Republican. But this is something different; this is a hostility, a bitter antagonism, that I typically see directed at people like me. Or actual Jew-haters like David Duke. But Trump? This was a man with absolutely no history of being anti-Jewish. He's a gentile who's mixed with Jews his entire life, in business, in family, and he's gotten along just fine.
Millionaires and magnates who actually are anti-Jewish (like Henry Ford) develop a reputation long before they hit their 70s. When I was a kid, my mom, a Brooklyn-born Jew, worked as a commercial graphic artist, and it was common knowledge among the people in her field which companies didn't hire Jews. For example, the Hall family (of Hallmark Cards) and the Knotts family (of the eponymous Berry Farm) had a reputation, deserved or not, for not employing Jews. Trump has never had any such rep. In the 1990s he publicly slammed the private clubs of Palm Beach for not admitting Jews. He opened Mar-a-Lago with the stated purpose of bringing a club into the community that was open to Jews and other minorities. His daughter married a Jew and converted, and his son-in-law is a trusted adviser (for better or worse). Are those the actions of an anti-Semite?
Some of the evidence presented for Trump's supposed Jew-hatred actually proves the opposite, like the 1991 allegation by the former president of Trump Plaza that Trump once remarked, "The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else." How very Nazi of him to insist on entrusting his money to Jews. As I pointed out earlier, my mom knew the anti-Semites in her biz by the fact that they didn't hire Jews. Trump was a guy who wanted Jews as employees and associates.
But according to a large faction of vocal Jews, Trump is the greatest existential threat to the Jewish people since Hitler. He's a Nazi, a fascist, a Father Coughlin, a George Lincoln Rockwell. The claims are so over-the-top, they'd be funny if they weren't insane.